As a ginger who happens to love ginger, I am always on the lookout for libations that incorporate my favorite spice. And, in eternal pursuit of a higher tolerance for heat, I have also taken to trying spicier ginger ales and ginger beers. Here are five of my favorites:
5. Vernor's Ginger Ale. Through some Michigan natives, I became aware of Vernor's, which has somewhat of a cult following among Wolverine-state expats. This spirited soda deftly manages to combine a sweet creaminess with some subtle spice notes, making it the perfect not-so-hot ginger ale for those with less tolerance for heat.
4. Reed's Extra Ginger Brew. The "extra ginger" in this Reed's varietal takes the mouth-burn up a notch, but an ample amount of sugar prevents this ale from becoming too caustic. If you're suffering from an upset stomach, there's no better drink for settling it and scaring away the bacteria.
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3. Old Jamaica Ginger Beer. I have no idea what sort of flavors "Old Jamaica" is supposed to evoke, but I do like what I taste in this style of ginger beer. Its medium spice and heavy carbonation make it an ideal mixer for a Dark and Stormy cocktail and can make up for the disadvantages of using lesser rums (re: not Gosling's).
2. Diet Gosling's Ginger Beer. No, that's not a typo. Having tried both the regular and the diet ginger beer from Goslings, I can say with full confidence that the latter is actually hotter and more refreshing than the former. Something about the lack of real sweeteners must highlight the ginger elements of this brew and make its "zip" a shade better than the original version.
1. Blenheim #3 Red Cap Ginger Ale. With its ability to create a Class A conflagration in your mouth, Blenheim Red Cap Ginger Ale easily blows other ginger sodas out of the water, as well as disproves the assertion that ginger ales are inherently less spicy than ginger brews. Although I don't have a natural predilection for foods and drinks that make me tear up as I consume them, I must say I found the strong scorch of Blenheim's ginger ale to be remarkably invigorating. It's the perfect aperitif for a "hot" supper of Malaysian or Indian food.